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6 Great Sources for Cheap and Beautiful Business Cards You Can Print #business #calendars

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If you’re a freelancer or you run a small business, you know that having a great is a valuable asset. However, when you’re just starting out, printing business cards can seem a little out of reach pricewise. It doesn’t have to be like that though. These days, there are dozens of low-cost printers who will do a print run of a modest amount of cards for you. All you need to do is choose your card style, add your details and put in your order.

There are even places who offer a free trial for your first batch of cards, online business cards to give you a stylish virtual presence and a great deal of variety for printed cards if you’re willing to pay a little. Check out these great options for cheap business cards that we found!

1. VistaPrint

VistaPrint have patented a way to do small runs of business cards cost effectively, thus allowing them to offer cards at a very cheap rate (normally £17.99 for 250 cards). In order to let you try them out, they also offer a 250-card print run for free if you are a new customer (but you pay for shipping). You can’t beat that!

If you’re taking up their free trial, they offer a decent range of designs to choose from and allow some personalisation. If you’re paying for a premium run, you can choose from thousands of designs, plus it’s possible to upload your logo and photos.

2. Moo

Moo has made quite a name for itself as a way of creating business cards from social media services like Facebook and Flickr. Moo specialise in creating unique cards for each customer, allowing everyone to design their own cards with their own photography and artwork or to work with templates. Moo also let you use different images on different cards, meaning that in a pack of 50 cards you can have different images on each one!

We’ve previously reviewed Moo’s quality MOO MiniCards Review and Giveaway MOO MiniCards Review and Giveaway Today, we’ll be taking a quick look at what MOO is all about and we placed several test orders with them to find out how great their print quality is. We’ll also be giving away. Read More. so we know it to be excellent. Business cards can be purchased for £10.99 for a pack of 50 and are offered in a variety of order sizes up to 600 cards for £101.97. If you want to check out Moo’s quality yourself, order a 10-card sample pack for free. It will be exactly like the premium product, but with a Moo logo printed on it as well.

3. Business Card Star

Using Business Card Star is more about the design process than anything. They allow users to design cards for printing at home, which is a real money-saver as you design and print your cards for free. Of course, they also offer a printing service with high quality cards, which will probably look more professional than the homemade variety.

There are plenty of designs to choose from, plus it’s possible to add your own photos and logos. If you’re printing at home, they charge a fee of US$10 to save a PDF of cards with your own photos and logos on them. If you are having your cards printed by them there is no extra fee for using your own images. Print runs start at US$22.95 + shipping and can be shipped to the US or Canada.

4. Business Card Land

Business Card Land works in much the same way as Business Card Star, as you can download free PDFs of your business cards for home printing or order professional printing via Business Card Star. The design process and the choice of templates are different though, so it’s worth checking out if you want a little variety.

5. Biz Card Creator

Biz Card Creator is yet another free online business card design company, but it has a more limited selection of card styles available. However, if simplicity is your thing, it may be worth trying. They do not offer printing services – in fact, they send you back to VistaPrint if you’re looking to print your cards.

6. Virtual Business Cards

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6 Smart Reasons to Get a Business Loan #stock #market #info

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6 Smart Reasons to Get a Business Loan

Co-founder and CEO, Fundera

November 9, 2015

Spreading the word that you re considering a loan for your business can be met with all kinds of opinions. From general naysayers to cautionary anecdotes, everyone you meet will have a story as to what might happen if you take out a loan to start or expand your business venture.

While it s true that not every reason is a good reason to go into debt for your business, that doesn t mean that good reasons don t exist. If your business is ready to take a leap, but you don t have the working capital to do so, here are six reasons you might re-consider applying for a small business loan .

1. You re ready to expand your physical location.

Your cubicles are busting at the seams, and your new assistant had to set up shop in the kitchen. Sounds like you ve outgrown your initial office location. Or maybe you run a restaurant or retail store, and you have more customers in and out than you can fit inside your space.

This is great news! It likely means business is booming, and you re ready to expand. But just because your business is ready for expansion, doesn t mean you have the cash on hand to make it happen.

In these cases, you may need a term loan to finance your big move. Whether it s adding an additional location or picking up and moving, the up-front cost and change in overhead will be significant.

Before you commit, take steps to measure the potential change in revenue that could come from expanding your space. Could you cover your loan costs and still make a profit? Use a revenue forecast along with your existing balance sheet to see how the move would impact your bottom line. And if you re talking about a second retail location, research the area you want to set up shop to make sure it s a good fit for your target market.

2. You re building credit for the future.

If you re planning to apply for larger-scale financing for your business in the next few years, the case can be made for starting with a smaller, short-term loan in order to build your business credit.

Young businesses can often have a hard time qualifying for larger loans if both the business and the owners don t have a strong credit history to report. Taking out a smaller loan and making regular on-time payments will build your business s credit for the future.

This tactic may also help you build relationships with a specific lender, giving you a connection to go back to when you re ready for that bigger loan. Be careful here, though, and don t take on an early loan you can t afford. Even one late payment on your smaller loan could make your chances of qualifying for future funding even worse than if you d never applied for the small loan at all.

3. You need equipment for your business.

Purchasing equipment that can improve your business offering is typically a no brainer for financing. You need certain machinery, IT equipment or other tools to make your product or perform your service, and you need a loan to finance that equipment. Plus, if you take out equipment financing. the equipment itself can often serve as collateral for a loan — similarly to a car loan.

Before you take out an equipment loan, make sure you re separating the actual needs from the nice-to-haves when it comes to your bottom line. Yes, your employees probably would love a margarita machine. But unless you happen to be running a Mexican Cantina, that particular equipment may not be your business s best investment.

4. You want to purchase more inventory.

Inventory is one of the biggest expenses for any business. Similar to equipment purchases, you need to keep up with the demand by replenishing your inventory with plentiful and high-quality options. This can prove difficult at times when you need to purchase large amounts of inventory before seeing a return on the investment.

Especially if you have a seasonal business, there are times when you may need to purchase a large amount of inventory without the cash on hand to do so. Slow seasons precede holiday seasons or tourist seasons — necessitating a loan to purchase the inventory before making a profit off it.

In order to measure whether this would be a wise financial move for your business, create a sales projection based on past years sales around that same time. Calculate the cost of the debt and compare that number to your total projected sales to determine whether taking an inventory loan is a wise financial move. Keep in mind that sales figures can vary widely from year to year, so be conservative and consider multiple years of sales figures in your projection.

5. You ve found a business opportunity that outweighs the potential debt.

Every now and then, an opportunity falls into your lap that is just too good to pass up — or so it seems, at least. Maybe you have a chance to order inventory in bulk at a discount, or you found a steal on an expanded retail space. In these instances, determining the return on investment of the opportunity requires weighing the cost of the loan versus the revenue you stand to generate through the available opportunity.

Let s say for instance, you run a business where you get a commercial contract for $20,000. The trouble is, you don t have the equipment to complete the job. Purchasing the necessary equipment would cost you about $5,000. If you took out a two-year loan on the equipment, paying a total of $1,000 in interest, your profits would still be $14,000.

If the potential return on investment outweighs the debt, go for it! But be careful with your calculations. More than one entrepreneur has been guilty of underestimating true costs or overestimating profits as a product of over-enthusiasm. When you re weighing the pros and cons, it often helps to perform a revenue forecast to make sure you re basing your decisions on hard numbers rather than gut instinct.

6. Your business needs fresh talent.

When working at a startup or small business, you wear a lot of hats. But there comes a time when doing the bookkeeping, fundraising, marketing and customer service may start to wear on you — and your business. If your small team is doing too many things, something will eventually fall through the cracks and compromise your business model.

Some businesses choose to invest their money in their talent, believing that this is one way to keep their business competitive and innovative. This can be a great move, if there s a clear connection between the hiring decision and an increase in revenue. But if having an extra set of hands around helps you focus on the big picture, that alone may be worth the loan cost.

Regardless of the exact reason you re considering a business loan, the point is this: If, when all costs are factored in, taking out the loan is likely to improve your bottom line — go for it. If the connection between financing and a revenue increase is hazy, take a second look at whether taking out a loan is your best choice.

You want to be confident in your ability to pay back a business loan over time and to see your business succeed. Every business decision involves taking a risk. Ultimately, only you can decide whether that risk is worthwhile.





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6 Top Professional Website Builders for Small Businesses #family #business

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6 Top Professional Website Builders for Small Businesses

Building your website is a priority, but what if you can t afford to bring in an independent website designer? There are plenty of options you can find from a free builders list to take advantage of today.

To give you an insight into some of the options available, this guide is going to show you some of the top picks that you should consider. With 77 percent believing a poor website is a weakness. you need the right builder.

Which of these top professional website builders will you use for your small business website today?

1. Website Builder.

The Website Builder platform will help you to build a professional website in just three steps. Despite the simplicity of this platform, there are thousands of templates to choose from. And you don t have to stick with the templates available. Every template is freely open to editing, so you can do what you like with it and make a completely unique website.

There are both SEO and integration tools that come with it, so you can cover all the requirements of a modern website. You can also use the free domain name option, but in general it s always better to use a paid domain name so it s truly unique.

2. Wix.

Wix is one of the most well-known website platforms in the world. Other than WordPress, this is one of the best free website builders available. You can create practically anything using Wix, but it tends to work best with fashion and apparel websites.

What makes Wix stand out are the SEO link building tools that come with your free website. It s easy to rank high when you re using Wix. To get started all you need to do is begin embedding the various Wix templates as and when you please. Connect the media widgets and you instantly have a professional looking website at your disposal.

3. Weebly.

Weebly is another one of the more well-known website builders on this list. It s ideal for practically any type of business because there s a website template for practically any niche. Take advantage of the simple drag and drop system when creating your website and you can have something that even a professional designer would be proud of.

Weebly automatically comes with mobile friendly designs. along with compatibility with multiple browsers. One feature that you get with Weebly that you don t get with other website builders is a personalized domain name.

4. Sitey.

Sitey comes with the drag and drop system that makes building a website to your specifications so easy. Every template has mobile responsiveness built in, as well as being compatible to Google s best practices .

Primarily, this is a network that sticks to using plugins and extensions to make up the bulk of its functionality. The customer service available is another plus point for Sitey. It s available 24/7 and is well-known for being one of the most helpful customer service departments of all the options on this list.

5. IM Creator.

IM Creator uses something called Stripes, which are pre-customizable. This website builder is one of the easiest builders to use because you can have a professional website up and running in a matter of minutes.

All the templates provided by IM Creator are retina ready, which means they are programmed to be used immediately with a live audience. All these designs can be placed onto websites that utilize hundreds of pages.

With IM Creator you don t have to worry about hosting because you automatically gain access to guaranteed unlimited hosting and bandwidth.

6. Jimdo.

If you need an ecommerce builder, Jimdo is an option that you should seriously consider. Create an online shop without all the issues associated with making your shopping cart work by downloading one of the dedicated ecommerce themes presented by Jimdo.

It even caters to heavyweight ecommerce stores. You can check all the various options and features to make sure you have the functionality you need. While this is a free website builder, you do have a paid option available, which comes with a ton of additional features. However, the free version is more than capable of fulfilling your needs.

Finding the right website builder for you requires some thought. Consider what your site needs to thrive and the features you need to create the platform you want.

The right website builder for you is out there. You just need to search for it.





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6 Business Icons Who Made TIME Person of the Year #home #based #businesses

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TIME has dedicated one issue to the “Person of the Year. ” The award, which is “bestowed to those who have, for good or for ill, most influenced the news and our lives in the past year,” has gone to politicians, scientists, humanitarians and entrepreneurs. Click through to see the business icons who have graced the magazine’s famous cover over the years.

1928 – Walter Chrysler

Before starting what would become one of the largest automotive manufacturers in the United States, Walter Chrysler worked as a railroad mechanic and locomotive machinist in West Texas. After serving as the head of Buick for three years, Chrysler was tapped to turn around the failing Willys-Overland Motor Company in Flint, Michigan. The now defunct company would become the automaker known today as Chrysler. Two years after being awarded Person of the Year, Chrysler financed the construction of the Chrysler Building in New York City, all with his personal fortune. The building stood as the tallest in the world for 11 months, when the Empire State Building surpassed it. Upon his death in 1938, Chrysler’s estate was worth roughly $8.9 million dollars – almost $150 million by today’s standards.

1955 – Harlow Curtis

In 1914, Harlow Curtis, the son of a fruit vendor in rural Michigan, responded to a newspaper ad for a bookkeeper position at the AC Spark Plug Company in Flint, Michigan. Following 15 years of service at AC, Curtis was named president of the spark plug company. According to GM’s online history portal. Curtis worked his way up the Detroit-ranks, landed a position at Buick and eventually became president of the highly profitable GM branch. In 1953, Curtis was named president of General Motors, and at his helm became the first American company to reach $1 billion in profits. A year later, TIME named Curtis “Man of the Year” in recognition of this achievement.

1991 – Ted Turner

Now a household name and waiting room fixture nationwide, CNN had plenty of skeptics when Ted Turner launched the first 24-hour news network in 1980. Built on the foundations Turner had put into place as the head of his father’s advertising firm and as the owner of the Atlanta Hawks basketball team, Turner changed news from a once-daily occurrence to a never-ending cycle. As of 2010, CNN was streaming to 100 million American households and another 98 million satellite subscribers throughout the world. Turner is worth $2.2 billion, according to Forbes . making him one of the wealthiest men in the country. The wealthy conglomerate extends beyond media, too. Ted’s Montana Grill serves up western-inspired food sourced from Turner’s bison located on ranches throughout the west and abroad.

1997 – Andrew Grove

As he proclaims in his book, “Only the paranoid survive.” This is the driving principle that has made Andrew Grove so insanely successful. Born in Hungary, Grove escaped communism to finish his education, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from City College of New York and a Ph. D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Grove was a pioneer the burgeoning semi-conductor industry. Once at the helm of Intel, Grove revolutionized the company into the highest valued computer chip maker in the world today. Under Groves leadership, Intel saw an increase in revenue from $1.9 million in 1987 to an astonishing $26.27 billion in 1998. Steve Jobs idolized Grove, seeking his advice when considering a return to Apple as CEO. In 1997, a year before Grove relinquished his title of CEO, Grove was awarded “Person of the Year ” on the 50th anniversary of the invention of the transistor.

1999 – Jeff Bezos

The e-commerce pioneer is most well known for his establishment of Amazon as an Internet commerce icon. Originally a source for books, Amazon had expanded to almost everything by 1999 when Jeff Bezos was awarded “Person of the Year.” Born to a teenage mother, Bezos was technologically adept from a young age, tinkering in his parents’ garage. In 2013, Amazon reported net revenue of $74.5 billion and employed over 132,000. Alexa, the domain ranking service, credits Amazon as the seventh most-visited website in the world. Since his recognition, Bezos has been up to quite a bit. In addition to his continued innovations at Amazon (did someone say drones ?), he acquired The Washington Post from longtime owners, the Graham family. Bezos is betting on his knack for web innovation to bring the publication into the digital age.

2010 – Mark Zuckerberg

The same year as he was hailed as TIME’s “Person of the Year “, The Social Network film sealed Mark Zuckerberg ‘s place as an American demagogue, next to the likes of Steve Jobs and others. In a Harvard dorm room, Zuckerberg and friends created what would become Facebook. The website spawned an entire social networking industry. Facebook’s massive $5 billion IPO, the third largest in history, would increase Zuckerberg’s wealth to about $33.1 billion, according to Forbes . making him No. 16 on the list of wealthiest Americans. His wealth makes him part of an elite club – one of three people with more billions than they have years of age. As of September, Facebook boasted 864 million daily active users .





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6 Best Business Tips from 6 Top Entrepreneurs #business #franchise

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6 Best Business Tips from 6 Top Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneur, content marketer, online educator

Becoming a successful entrepreneur is no easy feat. Sacrifice, hard work and an unwavering determination for achieving greatness are required. So is surviving your mistakes — because they will happen.

At CreativeLive, I ve always strived to learn from my own mistakes and to gain powerful insights from those who have successfully gone down the path before me. That s why I reached out to six top entrepreneurs, writers and CEOs I ve admired for years.

I asked each of them to share with me, in a selfie-style video clip, their single most impactful piece of advice for fellow entrepreneurs. Those interviewees included:

  • Chase Jarvis. the prolific photographer and CEO at CreativeLive, who s on a mission to revolutionize the way the world learns
  • Jon Acuff. the best-selling author of five books designed to teach how to find and create meaningful work
  • Sophia Amoruso. the founder of NastyGal and the best-selling author of #GIRLBOSS. who launched one of the fastest-growing retail brands in recent history
  • Lewis Howes. the best-selling author, lifestyle entrepreneur and podcast host, who s interviewed more than 200 influential entrepreneurs on how to achieve greatness
  • Nir Eyal. the best-selling author, entrepreneur and speaker, who s pioneering the psychology behind creating habit-forming products
  • Guy Kawasaki. the entrepreneur, investor and former chief evangelist at Apple, who s helped dozens of well-known startups launch with a bang

Here s what each had to say:

Just about any and all business owners who have created a sustainable self-employed career will tell you that they wouldn t have achieved their goals without guidance from others. They re not afraid to ask for help. In fact, most of them are successful in a large part, because they ve surrounded themselves with trusted advisors. mentors and industry experts.

Here s more from these top entrepreneurs on how they ve risen to success in the world of business.

1. Chase Jarvis, CEO at CreativeLive

Image credit: Chase Jarvis

Scratch your own itch.

After becoming one of the world s best-known photographers at a relatively young age, Chase went on to found CreativeLive. the world s largest live-streaming education company. He credits much of his success to following his passions and pursuing only the opportunities that he s genuinely interested in.

Jarvis: Go after solving a problem that you have. Something that s near and dear to you, not some random market opportunity. Because, when things get hard, if you re chasing just the dollars, or a random market opportunity, you re not going to be able to have the fortitude, the passion, to stay with it.

2. Jon Acuff, New York Times best-selling author of Do Over

Image credit: Jon Acuff

Success takes hustle.

Acuff, the New York Times best-selling author of five books, including Do Over . set out early on in his career to pursue at all costs only meaningful work. For him, that meant 16 long years of being hired and fired, before eventually finding his dream job and launching his self-employed career as a writer, speaker and brand consultant.

Accomplishing his dream of working for himself took a lot of hard work, focus and hustle.

Acuff: Hustle is an act of focus, not frenzy. Hustle is about subtraction and addition. It s not about doing more, it s about focusing on the things you need to do, in order to move your business forward.

3. Sophia Amoruso, founder of Nasty Gal, author of #GIRLBOSS

Image credit: sophia amoruso

Don t give up, don t take anything personally, and don t take no for an answer.

Since founding Nasty Gal. in 2006, as an eBay store selling vintage clothing, Amoruso has transformed the business into a multi-million dollar empire with its own clothing line, which was named the Fastest Growing Retailer in 2012. Recently, TheNew York Times best-selling author of #GIRLBOSS has stepped out of her role as the CEO of Nasty Gal to become the executive chairman and to oversee the creative and brand marketing functions of the business.

Without any fashion or business experience before starting Nasty Gal, Amoruso credits much of her hard-earned success to her refusal to accept failure as an option.

Amoruso: The people who told me no were the people who eventually told me yes.

4. Lewis Howes, author of The School of Greatness

Image credit: Lewis Howes

Follow your heart.

Howes, The New York Times best-selling author of The School of Greatness , and host of the podcast bearing the same name, is a professional athlete-turned-entrepreneur. After suffering a debilitating injury on the field, Howes faced the fact that his football career was finished. Overnight, he lost his ability to do what he was passionate about, and was forced to discover a new way to live with purpose. Today, he s a writer, speaker and online educator who teaches entrepreneurs how to grow their online businesses .

5. Nir Eyal, author of Hooked

Image credit: Nir Eyal

Certainty is more dangerous than ignorance.

Eyal, the author of the Wall Street Journal best seller, Hooked . has become the authority on how to build habit-forming products. After years of research and experience in the video game and advertising industries, Eyal is a sought-after writer, speaker and educator on the psychology behind what motivates consumer engagement.

Eyal: It s up to us as entrepreneurs, to see the world as it should be –not necessarily how it is. When you think you re sure of the way things are, that s when you get passed up and you don t see the opportunities that real entrepreneurs envision.

6. Guy Kawasaki, chief evangelist of Canva, author of The Art of the Start 2.0

Image credit: Guy Kawasaki

Focus on the prototype.

Kawasaki, the former chief evangelist of Apple, is an immensely successful marketing executive, investor and author of 13 books including The Art of the Start 2.0 . Over the years, he s helped dozens of well-known companies take their products from concept to market dominance.

His formula for replicating startup success? Focusing only on the activities that drive positive results for your business.

Kawasaki: If you get a prototype out and you get enough people using it, you never have to write a business plan. A prototype is where you separate the BS from the reality.





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6 Smart Budgeting Tips for Small Business Owners #business #plan #writer

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6 Smart Budgeting Tips for Small Business Owners

If you run a small business, it s likely that you re operating on a relatively limited budget. Whether you bootstrapped your business or are trying to pay back loans you took out to cover your startup costs, it s in your best interest to conserve money wherever you can.

Without a thorough budget plan, however, it can be difficult to track and manage your finances. This is especially true for any unexpected business expenses that may come up, as they often do. A 2015 survey by small business credit provider Headway Capital found that although 57 percent of small business owners anticipated growth this year, nearly 19 percent were concerned about how unexpected expenses would impact their business.

If you want to keep your business operating in the black, you ll need to account for both fixed and unplanned costs, and then create and stick to a solid budget. Experts offered their advice for small business owners looking to keep their finances in order. [4 Tips for Reducing Startup Costs]

Define and understand your risks

Every business venture has a certain degree of risk involved, and all of those risks have the potential for a financial impact on your company. Paul Cho, managing director of Headway Capital, said that small business owners need to consider their long- and short-term risks to accurately plan for their financial future.

How will changes in minimum wage or health care requirements impact your workforce? Cho said. Do you operate in a geography at high risk of a natural disaster? Do you rely heavily on seasonal workers? Understanding the potential risks facing you on a short- and long-term basis is important for all small businesses. Once you ve mapped out the threats to productivity, a clearer picture can be built around emergency planning, insurance needs, etc.

Overestimate your expenses

If your business operates on a project-to-project basis, you know that every client is different and no two projects will turn out exactly the same. This means that often, you can t predict when something is going to go over budget.

Every project seems to have a one-time cost that was never anticipated, said James Ontra, CEO of presentation management company Shufflrr. It usually is that one unique extra item [that is] necessary to the job, but [was] not anticipated when bidding the job.

For this reason, Ontra advised budgeting slightly above your anticipated line-item costs, no matter what, so that if you do go over, you won t be fully unprepared.

I go by the cost-moon-stars theory, he said. If you think it will cost the moon, expect to pay the stars.

Pay attention to your sales cycle

Many businesses go through busy and slow periods over the course of the year. If your company has an off-season , you ll need to account for your expenses during that time. Cho also suggested using your slower periods to think of ways to plan ahead for your next sales boom.

There is much to be learned from your sales cycles, he said. Use your downtime to ramp up your marketing efforts while preventing profit generation from screeching to a halt. In order to keep your company thriving and the revenue coming in, you will have to identify how to market to your customers in new and creative ways.

Plan for large purchases carefully and early

Some large business expenses occur when you least expect them a piece of equipment breaks and needs to be replaced or your delivery van needs a costly repair, for instance. However, planned expenses like store renovations or a new software system should be carefully timed and budgeted to avoid a huge financial burden on your business.

Substantial business changes need to be timed carefully, balancing the risk with the reward and done with a full understanding of the financial landscape you re operating within, Cho told Business News Daily. An up-to-date budget and data-driven financial projections are important components that help guide when to make large investments in your business.

Remember that time is money, too

One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make is forgetting to incorporate their time into a budget plan. Ontra reminded business owners that time is money, especially when working with people who are paid for their time.

Timing underestimation directly increases costs, Ontra said. For us, the biggest underestimation is allotting time for client feedback. It is a Herculean effort sometimes to meet a deadline with lots of people focused on a single task. Then, the client needs to give feedback for us to proceed. If the client is distracted with other issues, feedback planned for a three-day turnaround, can become a week or longer. Not only do you start to lose time to the delivery schedule, your team also loses momentum as their collective thought shifts focus to another project.

Ontra recommended treating your time like your money, and set external deadlines later than when you think the project will actually be done.

If you believe the project will finish on Friday, promise delivery on Monday, he said. So, if you finish on Friday, deliver the work early and become a star. If for some reason time runs over, deliver on Monday and you are still a success.

Constantly revisit your budget

Your budget will never be static or consistent it will change and evolve along with your business, and you ll need to keep adjusting it based on your growth and profit patterns. Cho suggested revising your monthly and annual budgets regularly to get a clearer, updated picture of your business finances.

Regularly revisiting your budget will help you better control financial decisions because you will know exactly what you can afford to spend versus how much you are projecting to make, Cho said. Take into account market trends from the previous year to help you determine what this year may look like. Once you have a clear understanding of your business s budgetary needs, you can accurately forecast what can be set aside for an emergency fund or unexpected costs.

Nicole Fallon Taylor

Nicole received her Bachelor s degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the assistant editor. Reach her by email. or follow her on Twitter .

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  • The 6 Best Advertising Strategies For Small Business #stocks #to #watch

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    The 6 Best Advertising Strategies For Small Business

    Small business owners need to be realistic about their advertising campaigns. Typically, of course, they ll be looking for effective, low-cost solutions, but typically, too, you can have just one or the other; you re unlikely to find a simultaneously effective and inexpensive channel for your ads.

    That s why you absolutely must budget for advertising, not just play with the money you have left over. By assigning the right amount of money to the right channels, you can get the results you want, or at the least, improve the results you have, based on the data you gather along the way. Since your monthly spend will be consistent, you ll be better able to measure overall efficacy, too.

    Given your need to optimize your advertising efforts, then, here are the best advertising strategies for small businesses.

    1. Target your audience.

    Sorry, but that particular product or service you re touting does not match the needs of anyone who currently walks the Earth. Many small businesses don t run adequately targeted campaigns, despite the fact that targeting is one of online advertising s primary advantages.

    Indeed, you should be able to create an accurate target customer profile based on the data you ve collected. With this information in hand, and what you know about your current clientele, you can begin to target similar demographics and psychographics with your campaigns to attract more customers.

    Whether you re advertising online or off, make sure your copy and imagery reflects the kind of customers you want to work with. This is key to targeting well.

    2. Measure and track your advertising.

    Many small businesses simply have no idea whether their advertising is actually working. This simply won t do.

    Online advertising platforms like Google AdWords and Facebook provide you with extensive stats related to your ads, and will help you determine what is working and what isn t. This doesn t mean that you won t need to test and experiment, as it can take time for you to create an ad that resonates with your target customers, but it does mean that you can make faster decisions about what to try next.

    If you re advertising offline, and you have to set up a specific email address or phone number to gain a clearer understanding of how your leads are finding you and what s working, then that effort is worth the hassle. Stop making guesses.

    3. Know when to advertise.

    At first glance, advertising year-round and spreading out your budget equally month-to-month may appear to be a wise and commonsense approach.

    But if you think back to your business launch, odds are you did a lot of things that can t be scaled. There s no way for you to sustain a similar marketing and advertising initiative throughout the entire year.

    If you sell seasonal products, you should be advertising in your highest-performing seasons. You may even want to start a little bit early and hold some of your advertising until a little after.

    Black Friday and Christmas tend to be high-performing seasons, depending on the type of business you re running. It may be advantageous to set aside some extra ad money for these days and/or other holidays.

    Finally, it can also be worthwhile to keep an eye on when your competitors launch their own big promotions. If you have an advertising budget set aside, you may be able to keep pace or even outmaneuver them.

    4. Brand well.

    Can your customers immediately identify your ads based on your copy, color choice, imagery, logo or typeface? If that question seems absurd, just look at what the major brands and companies are doing. Oftentimes, you can recognize their ads just from the colors they re using.

    Over time, your customers will come to identify with and respond to your ad layouts. The temptation may be to change your branding every time you create a new ad, but that could be confusing and ineffective over the long haul. Your goal should be to show up in expected places, with familiar-looking ads that consistently resonate with your target customers.

    Bottom line: Brand well, and stick to your image. Build loyalty through resonance.

    5. Use your resources well.

    You know the importance of ranking well in search, but you may simply not have the resources and time to consistently create new, informative content for your website.

    In an instance like that, your best bet is to take advantage of services like Google AdWords and Bing Ads, so you appear higher in SERP results without having to optimize posts for your chosen keywords. If you have the budget to advertise, but not the time to create content, this is a good use of resources.

    If you only have a small budget to allocate to advertising, it may not make sense to take out an expensive magazine ad. A Facebook ad campaign would be much more practical, since you can control your daily spend.

    Make an honest assessment of the resources available to you, and leverage them in a way that helps you grow your business.

    6. Show up in the right places.

    It s dangerous to make too many assumptions about your target customer. For example, if there s a certain radio show that you like, and you assume that your customers like it too, you may be misinformed about the wisdom of spending money on a radio ad there that could prove expensive and ineffective.

    If your advertising dollars are going to the wrong place, you re wasting your money. Instead, you need to get to know your customers. So, survey them. Get a sense of where they like to hang out online, what books and magazines they read, what podcast and radio shows they listen to and so on.

    When your advertising is matched with the right understanding of your customers, you ll begin to attract more worthwhile leads to your business.

    Final thoughts

    There are plenty of opportunities to monetize through advertising. The key is in knowing who your target customers are, where they like to hang out — and thus where to find more people like them — and allocating your resources to those specific channels.

    Advertising is not set-and-forget. You need to be strategic in the way you approach it, and amplify your marketing at the right times.





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    How to Market a Home Party Business: 6 Steps #business #credit #cards

    #home party businesses

    #

    How to Market a Home Party Business

    Start with your friends and family.

    • Nobody can help you market yourself and your business better than those that know you the best. Let your friends and family know you are looking for hosts and hostesses for your business and let word-of-mouth take its course.
    • Ask your friends and family to host your first parties to get the ball rolling. They can benefit from the hostess rewards and you can get valuable experience at the same time. You also may be able to get some of their guests to book future parties.

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    Befriend local business owners.

    • Not only can they pass on your information to their customers, but they also may let you post fliers or set out your business card in their place of business. Consider offering them a free product or service in return for use of their already established client base.
    • Be sure to select businesses that appeal to the same type of clients that would be interested in your home party business.

    Connect with potential clients through social networking.

    • Social networking has spread beyond the traditional networking happy hour after work. Social networking can now be done online. There are many web sites through which you can connect with old friends who can be the source for a wider client base. These web sites can also lead to whole networks of people with specific interests in your niche.

    Combine your efforts.

    • Join forces with other in-home party consultants to throw a one-stop-shopping party. Clients who may come with an interest in another home business may end up finding an interest in your party business. Choosing businesses that are different, yet, that compliment each other can make for a very interesting mix of customers.

    Use your mailing options.

    • Electronic mail (e-mail) can cover quite a large territory. Distribute e-mails detailing the hostess special for a month along with an attached flier of the benefits of being a host. Send the note to your whole address book and ask recipients to forward it on to anyone they think might be interested. This is a cheap and quick way to market your home party business.
    • Although regular mail costs a little more, it appeals to a different set of people. Many of these potential clients that are not computer savvy, so a flier in their mailboxes is more likely to do the trick. If you have the time, you can hand-deliver the fliers.

    Offer incentives.

    • Create your own incentive plan beyond the company’s offerings. Even if you just throw in an extra lipstick or a small food storage container, it gives your clients a great incentive to want to spread the word of your private party business.

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    6 Top Professional Website Builders for Small Businesses #starting #a #business #ideas

    #business website builder

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    6 Top Professional Website Builders for Small Businesses

    Building your website is a priority, but what if you can t afford to bring in an independent website designer? There are plenty of options you can find from a free builders list to take advantage of today.

    To give you an insight into some of the options available, this guide is going to show you some of the top picks that you should consider. With 77 percent believing a poor website is a weakness. you need the right builder.

    Which of these top professional website builders will you use for your small business website today?

    1. Website Builder.

    The Website Builder platform will help you to build a professional website in just three steps. Despite the simplicity of this platform, there are thousands of templates to choose from. And you don t have to stick with the templates available. Every template is freely open to editing, so you can do what you like with it and make a completely unique website.

    There are both SEO and integration tools that come with it, so you can cover all the requirements of a modern website. You can also use the free domain name option, but in general it s always better to use a paid domain name so it s truly unique.

    2. Wix.

    Wix is one of the most well-known website platforms in the world. Other than WordPress, this is one of the best free website builders available. You can create practically anything using Wix, but it tends to work best with fashion and apparel websites.

    What makes Wix stand out are the SEO link building tools that come with your free website. It s easy to rank high when you re using Wix. To get started all you need to do is begin embedding the various Wix templates as and when you please. Connect the media widgets and you instantly have a professional looking website at your disposal.

    3. Weebly.

    Weebly is another one of the more well-known website builders on this list. It s ideal for practically any type of business because there s a website template for practically any niche. Take advantage of the simple drag and drop system when creating your website and you can have something that even a professional designer would be proud of.

    Weebly automatically comes with mobile friendly designs. along with compatibility with multiple browsers. One feature that you get with Weebly that you don t get with other website builders is a personalized domain name.

    4. Sitey.

    Sitey comes with the drag and drop system that makes building a website to your specifications so easy. Every template has mobile responsiveness built in, as well as being compatible to Google s best practices .

    Primarily, this is a network that sticks to using plugins and extensions to make up the bulk of its functionality. The customer service available is another plus point for Sitey. It s available 24/7 and is well-known for being one of the most helpful customer service departments of all the options on this list.

    5. IM Creator.

    IM Creator uses something called Stripes, which are pre-customizable. This website builder is one of the easiest builders to use because you can have a professional website up and running in a matter of minutes.

    All the templates provided by IM Creator are retina ready, which means they are programmed to be used immediately with a live audience. All these designs can be placed onto websites that utilize hundreds of pages.

    With IM Creator you don t have to worry about hosting because you automatically gain access to guaranteed unlimited hosting and bandwidth.

    6. Jimdo.

    If you need an ecommerce builder, Jimdo is an option that you should seriously consider. Create an online shop without all the issues associated with making your shopping cart work by downloading one of the dedicated ecommerce themes presented by Jimdo.

    It even caters to heavyweight ecommerce stores. You can check all the various options and features to make sure you have the functionality you need. While this is a free website builder, you do have a paid option available, which comes with a ton of additional features. However, the free version is more than capable of fulfilling your needs.

    Finding the right website builder for you requires some thought. Consider what your site needs to thrive and the features you need to create the platform you want.

    The right website builder for you is out there. You just need to search for it.





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    6 Great Sources for Cheap and Beautiful Business Cards You Can Print #business #games

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    If you’re a freelancer or you run a small business, you know that having a great is a valuable asset. However, when you’re just starting out, printing business cards can seem a little out of reach pricewise. It doesn’t have to be like that though. These days, there are dozens of low-cost printers who will do a print run of a modest amount of cards for you. All you need to do is choose your card style, add your details and put in your order.

    There are even places who offer a free trial for your first batch of cards, online business cards to give you a stylish virtual presence and a great deal of variety for printed cards if you’re willing to pay a little. Check out these great options for cheap business cards that we found!

    1. VistaPrint

    VistaPrint have patented a way to do small runs of business cards cost effectively, thus allowing them to offer cards at a very cheap rate (normally £17.99 for 250 cards). In order to let you try them out, they also offer a 250-card print run for free if you are a new customer (but you pay for shipping). You can’t beat that!

    If you’re taking up their free trial, they offer a decent range of designs to choose from and allow some personalisation. If you’re paying for a premium run, you can choose from thousands of designs, plus it’s possible to upload your logo and photos.

    2. Moo

    Moo has made quite a name for itself as a way of creating business cards from social media services like Facebook and Flickr. Moo specialise in creating unique cards for each customer, allowing everyone to design their own cards with their own photography and artwork or to work with templates. Moo also let you use different images on different cards, meaning that in a pack of 50 cards you can have different images on each one!

    We’ve previously reviewed Moo’s quality MOO MiniCards Review and Giveaway MOO MiniCards Review and Giveaway Today, we’ll be taking a quick look at what MOO is all about and we placed several test orders with them to find out how great their print quality is. We’ll also be giving away. Read More. so we know it to be excellent. Business cards can be purchased for £10.99 for a pack of 50 and are offered in a variety of order sizes up to 600 cards for £101.97. If you want to check out Moo’s quality yourself, order a 10-card sample pack for free. It will be exactly like the premium product, but with a Moo logo printed on it as well.

    3. Business Card Star

    Using Business Card Star is more about the design process than anything. They allow users to design cards for printing at home, which is a real money-saver as you design and print your cards for free. Of course, they also offer a printing service with high quality cards, which will probably look more professional than the homemade variety.

    There are plenty of designs to choose from, plus it’s possible to add your own photos and logos. If you’re printing at home, they charge a fee of US$10 to save a PDF of cards with your own photos and logos on them. If you are having your cards printed by them there is no extra fee for using your own images. Print runs start at US$22.95 + shipping and can be shipped to the US or Canada.

    4. Business Card Land

    Business Card Land works in much the same way as Business Card Star, as you can download free PDFs of your business cards for home printing or order professional printing via Business Card Star. The design process and the choice of templates are different though, so it’s worth checking out if you want a little variety.

    5. Biz Card Creator

    Biz Card Creator is yet another free online business card design company, but it has a more limited selection of card styles available. However, if simplicity is your thing, it may be worth trying. They do not offer printing services – in fact, they send you back to VistaPrint if you’re looking to print your cards.

    6. Virtual Business Cards

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